I admit it, I’m a scrapper. I love growing vegetables from scraps. It doesn’t always work, but when it does you get to give yourself a little pat on the back, and if you have kids, they’ll think you’re a super cool mad scientist.
Is there any flower more lovely than the sunflower? Famous post-impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh painted a series of sunflower canvases. It appears on the state flag of Kansas. There’s even a National Sunflower Association, which shouldn’t be a surprise given the agricultural importance of these flowers.
The best piece of advice I got over ten years ago, in regards to weeds in my garden came from a friend of my mom who always has the most pristine garden. Each row between his plants were always clean, and never seemed to have sprouts or bugs. I assumed he must be hand-weeding, but when I asked he told me “nope, I just go out every day with a hoe and turn the soil—haven’t had to bend over to pick a weed or mulch a day in my life.”
I don’t know about you, but as a beginner, not very serious gardener, I used to go to the store, look at the seeds, and just pick the vegetables and herbs I liked. I didn’t give much thought to whether or not it was too late to plant tomato seeds in July or if my garden had enough sun for eggplants to grow. Certainly, I had some luck and once in a while would pick something easy to grow (yay for radishes!) but I also had my share of disappointments. In fact, I mostly had disappointments in those early days.
It’s no secret that fresh vegetables are good for you. It’s also no secret that many of us don’t have enough fresh veggies in our diets. I could leave it at that and just say that the best summer vegetables to grow are whichever ones you’ll eat. But then this would be a really short […]
I’ve always felt that one of the joys of a garden is that moment when you walk outside and get some fresh herbs to cook with or when you see a few ripe tomatoes on the vine and decide you’ll make gazpacho for dinner. Exciting as that is, it can feel a bit overwhelming when you’re figuring out where to begin. I’ve been tending a small kitchen garden right outside my back door for a few years now, but it would have been helpful in the beginning if someone had told me the best herbs and veggies to plant, so I didn’t go planting watermelons with my herbs the first year.
There’s something magical about a balcony garden. I don’t know if it’s the act of bringing nature into such an unlikely environment or if it’s the confidence that seems to come with growing vegetables two, three, or more stories off the ground, but I just adore them. I did discover a secret about these gardens, although it hasn’t taken away the joy of them. If you plan it right, and use the easiest vegetables to grow on a balcony, success is all but guaranteed.
Vertical gardening is very trendy these days, but I think it’s for good reason. Vegetable vines are great for growing “up,” and can be ideal for small gardens and containers. In fact, one of my city-dwelling friends manages to grow tomatoes, cucumbers, and pole beans in a few large pots on the front porch. When I learned I could grow squash vertically around an arch trellis instead of, basically, everywhere they want to go, my life was forever changed.
As much as I love to read, sometimes a printable companion planting chart is a better option. Scientifically speaking, you only need to see something for 13 milliseconds for your brain to recognize it, according to an MIT study. Not that gardening is about speed, because it’s not. You can’t hurry nature. You can’t hurry love, either, if you believe Diana Ross and the Supremes, but that’s a topic for another blog.
When Emily Dickinson wrote this poem in the mid-1800s, she may or may not have been thinking about flowers for a vegetable garden. There’s really no way to say. She is, however, absolutely correct in that without bees and other pollinators, we would have a lot fewer fruits and vegetables in this world. Melons, squash, cucumbers, blueberries, cranberries, and cherries would all be lost without pollinators. I’ve seen tomato plants grow sky high without growing a single tomato.